Wonder Boy The Dragon’s Trap (Review) Nintendo Switch

Wonder Boy The Dragon’s Trap (Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

PPG_GOTM_Badge_2015_GraphicThe Wonder Boy series is a popular collection of action-platformers that first appeared on the Sega Master System, and later on Sega Genesis. A PC-Engine port of Wonder Boy would eventually surface, but the series itself would eventually vanish into obscurity once Sega began focusing on new franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog and Streets of Rage.

Thanks to developer Lasercube, the Wonder Boy series has been given new life as a jaw-dropping, HD reboot for Nintendo Switch. Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is a continuation of the Master System game Wonder Boy III, where the game’s protagonist must regain his human form after a curse turns him into a Lizard-Man for defeating Mecha Dragon, a boss that appeared in both Wonder Boy in Monster Land and Wonder Boy III.

Like its 8-bit cousin, The Dragon’s Trap has the player exploring a variety of locations (i.e. dungeons, underwater passageways, etc), while killing enemies for combat items (i.e. arrows, boomerangs, etc.) and bags of money, which can be used to purchase armor, potions and weapons, among other things. Wonder Boy can change into five animal forms with different abilities and exploration capabilities. These forms include Lizard-Man (a dragon that spits fireballs), Mouse-Man (a small warrior capable of climbing checkered blocks), Pirahna-Man (a fish-like creature capable of swimming underwater), Lion-Man (a fierce warrior), and Hawk-Man (a bird-like animal capable of flight). The player can obtain these animal forms by defeating the game’s bosses, which are hidden throughout the game.

The Dragon’s Trap retains the same gameplay and level design of the original game, and this due to the developer backward engineering the game’s code from the Master System version. But despite all this, the game still includes some improvements over its 8-bit predecessor. For example: There is now a weapon-toggling system; improved physics; and an option to swap between HD and retro graphics on the fly by pressing the ZR button, among others.

New to the game is a selectable female character named Wonder Girl, who – when selected – changes the game’s title screen. There is also an autosave feature that saves the player’s progress after completing a level. Moreover, the developer has preserved the password system from the original 8-bit game, adding to Wonder Boy’s nostalgic atmosphere. Gamers looking for a true retro experience will appreciate this feature.

Combat is identical to the original. Wonder Boy has a basic attack, which can be activated by rapidly pressing Y button. Combat items like arrows can be used by pressing A button. When a shield is equipped, Wonder Boy can block incoming projectiles, but only when standing still. While it may not be obvious at first — it’s important to match Wonder Boy’s current animal form to the right armor and weapons for maximum performance. For example: The Knight Shield – when equipped as Pirahna-Man – provides an additional +90 for defense, while Lizard-Man only receives a defense bonus of +50. This system also applies to weapons, which can greatly differ between each animal form.

The Dragon’s Trap is one of the best looking remakes to date. The level of detail spent on the sprites alone is staggering, with some of the best animation ever seen in a modern 2D platformer. Even the backgrounds manage to stand out, thanks to an incredibly bright — and stunningly vibrant — color palette. The entire presentation is breathtaking, to say the very least.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is a quality game from start to finish. Not only does it embody the developer’s passion for the series, but it raises the bar for future developers to follow.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Lizardcube
Publisher: DotEmu
ESRB: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
Price: $19.99

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap Official Website:

Review Score
Simply incredible. Some of the most impressive 2D graphics ever seen in an HD remaster.
The remastered sound effects really compliment the action. For gamers feeling nostalgic, there is an option to use the original 8-bit sound effects and music.
Classic platforming at its finest.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a must-buy for Nintendo Switch gamers.
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